Project NIA is currently engaged in two advocacy campaigns.
The UN-marked Campaign
The UN-marked Campaign has three main goals:
- To educate youth and adults about the importance and value of expungement of juvenile criminal records;
- To change the prohibitive fee structure for juvenile expungements;
- To advocate for legislative changes that will make expungement of juvenile mere arrests AUTOMATIC once youth turn 18 while also simplifying the overall process of juvenile criminal record expungement.
The Campaign to Close Illinois Youth Prisons
At an average cost of $90,000 per juvenile per year, and a 50% recidivism rate, the Illinois juvenile justice system must be overhauled. Unlike the overcrowding in Illinois adult prisons, the state's eight juvenile prisons are at roughly 70% capacity.
According to an analysis of state records by the Juvenile Justice Initiative the average daily population for youth prisons in the state was 1,113 in fiscal year 2011, down from 1,603 in fiscal year 2005 and 1,192 in fiscal year 2011. The same analysis estimates operation costs for the facilities as $92,257 per bed for fiscal year 2011.
The Campaign to Close Illinois Youth Prisons has four main goals:
- To educate individuals across Chicago about the negative consequences of youth incarceration
- To involve young people and adults in advocacy and organizing to eradicate juvenile incarceration.
- To elevate alternatives to youth incarceration in the public's consciousness.
- To convince Governor Pat Quinn to recommend the closure of at least four of the eight juvenile prisons in Illinois over the next five years. While Quinn has already announced the closing of one juvenile prison in Illinois in fiscal year 2012, we believe that the state can close more juvenile prisons without compromising public safety.